When an employer hires a new employee, they expect that employee to perform the work that is asked of them so that they can receive a paycheck. Often, employees are promoted to positions of trust within the company. These positions enable dishonest employees to commit criminal acts against the company for their own personal gain. One of the most common crimes they commit is embezzlement. Embezzlement occurs when a person in a position of trust takes or misappropriates funds that they have been entrusted with and converts them for their own benefit. This was what happened in Dixon, Illinois in 2012 that resulted in a $53.7 million-dollar loss to the city. The comptroller at the time, Rita Crundwell, embezzled the money to fund her own horse breeding operation along with extravagant gifts for herself. Crundwell was charged in 2012 and plead guilty to wire fraud. Crundwell as sentenced to 20 years in prison for this crime.
The crime of embezzlement is considered a white-collar crime as it is a nonviolent crime that is committed by a person for their own financial gain. When a person commits embezzlement, they do not physically harm another person, although they cause them to suffer some sort of financial loss due to the theft they have committed. Those that commit embezzlement are commonly in the career of some sort of business and hold a position that they have access or control over some type of financials for the company or clients. Typically, those that commit embezzlement, do so over long periods of time as the crime goes undetected and they can fraudulently obtain large amounts of money for themselves over this time frame. .
In this paper, we are going to look at what leads a person to commit embezzlement by analyzing different theories on the matter to discover not only why they commit this crime, but what can be done to prevent a person from committing the act in the future. Although there has not been significant research done, we will use the information that is available to attempt to find a pattern of behavior that is typical of someone that commits the crime of embezzlement.